Immediately following Sunday’s disappointing home defeat to Louisville, Georgetown senior forward Tia Magee was crystal clear in her prognosis of what the Blue and Gray required from their midweek visit to Morgantown, W. Va.
“We cannot lose,” Magee said. “Defensively we need to get more aggressive, offensively we need to be more aggressive and more confident, and [we need to] just do whatever it takes to win.”
Magee made good on her words in a big way Tuesday night, as the Hoyas’ second-leading scorer and top rebounder led No. 20 Georgetown (16-5, 5-3 Big East) to a 64-54 victory over West Virginia (14-6, 4-3 Big East) with 17 second-half points in a crucial conference showdown.
It was the first road win against the Mountaineers in Head Coach Terri Williams-Flournoy’s eight-year tenure with theHoyas, and the result moved the Blue and Gray to within a half-game of fourth place in the Big East.
“It’s great to win here, but more importantly, after coming off of a loss it’s good to get a win and get the kids back and feeling confident,” Williams-Flournoy said in a press release.
Despite their coach’s emphasis on improving their shooting and confidence on offense, the Hoyas — whose 36.2 field goal percentage is 15th in the Big East — did not begin the game well. Georgetown managed a meager five points in the opening 10 minutes of play, and Magee was held scoreless for the entirety of the half.
Georgetown trailed early in the contest until an 11-0 run sparked by freshman guard Taylor Brown’s three-pointer began a series of lead changes for the remainder of the half.
Standout junior guard Sugar Rodgers — the conference’s leading scorer with 19.9 points per game and four-time member of the weekly Big East honor roll — kept the Hoyas close, scoring 10 of their 23 first-half points, but the Mountaineers entered the break on top thanks to redshirt sophomore guardChristal Caldwell’s jumper with 18 seconds remaining in the half.
The Blue and Gray quickly found themselves in a seven-point hole to begin the second period, but a steady comeback culminating in a Magee layup put Georgetown ahead, 39-38, with 9:52 to play. TheHoyas never looked back, as Magee scored seven points in a 13-0 Georgetown run.
West Virginia was held scoreless for over seven minutes as the Georgetown lead swelled to 13 points at its largest. The Hoyas wreaked havoc with their full-court press and turned West Virginia’s 16 second-half turnovers into 17 points. The Mountaineers finished with 30 turnovers while shooting only 29.2 percent.
“Our kids have really bought into the philosophy that if we press and turn them over, we’ll probably win the game,” Williams-Flournoy said.
The Blue and Gray were much improved on offense, shooting 41.7 from the field, but lost the battle of the boards, 40-31. Rodgers matched Magee’s 17 points, while senior point guard Rubylee Wright added eight points and six rebounds. Caldwell led West Virginia with 25 points.
Georgetown continues its run of critical conference matchups Sunday, when it plays host to No. 11 Rutgers (17-3, 6-1 Big East). Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m. at McDonough Arena.